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Chiefs Notebook: Crennel’s Game Three Plan

Posted Aug 21, 2012

Matt Cassel preparing for extended action against Seattle


No preseason plan is the same. The Chiefs proved that last year with an unorthodox approach to exhibition games following the NFL lockout.

But so far Romeo Crennel has followed a traditional preseason blueprint in his first year as Chiefs head coach. He’s used the stair-step method when handling snaps of his starters – a taste of action in the preseason opener, followed by a full half of play-time for most front line players in game two.

“Every game you play is important because you can learn something from it, you can teach from it,” Crennel said. “Game one was important; game two is important, so game three is important. I don’t know that it’s more important than the first game or anything like that. If we get better that means that’s where the importance lies, particularly coming off of a loss in the second game.”

The majority of NFL coaches treat their third preseason game like a dress rehearsal for the regular season. More game-planning goes into the third game than in any other preseason contest and starters sometimes extend into the third quarter to mock installation and execution of halftime adjustments.

“A lot of teams have done that in the past,” Crennel said of potentially playing his starters into the third quarter Friday night against Seattle. “We might very well do that this game, but we’ll go into the game and then we’ll see what’s going to happen with it.”

Whatever Crennel’s choice, the Chiefs are likely to face a field of reserves when they travel to Green Bay for the preseason finale next week.

The Packers rested nine starters in last year’s preseason finale against the Chiefs and pulled most of their remaining front-line players after the first series. The year before, Green Bay rested a whopping 41 players in its fourth preseason game at Arrowhead Stadium.

Quarterback Matt Cassel says he’s preparing to play into the second half against Seattle, but hasn’t been given a definitive answer as to how long starters might be on the field.

“I tell them the same thing all the time, just to be ready to play and play until I take you out,” Crennel said. “I just don’t tell them what my thoughts are as for how that goes. I want them to prepare to play.

“If I tell them, ‘I’m going to take you out after the first quarter,’ then in their mind they’re coming out after the first quarter. If I need them in the second quarter, then they’re not mentally ready to go, so, ‘hey guys, we’re going to play. You’re going to play until I take you out. When I take you out, that’s going to be it.’”

Historically, Crennel has given his starters extensive looks in the third preseason contest. Crennel’s starting quarterback played into the third quarter three times in his four years serving as Browns head coach. The lone exception came in 2007 when Charlie Frye and Derrick Anderson were dueling for the starting quarterback job.

In 2008, current Chiefs quarterback Brady Quinn made his first career start of any kind in Cleveland’s third preseason game against the Lions and played into the third quarter. Starter Derek Anderson suffered a concussion the previous week.

Flowers Still Ailing

It’s been three weeks since cornerback Brandon Flowers hobbled off the Spratt Stadium turf at Missouri Western State University with a foot injury. He hasn’t practiced since.

Crennel gave another update regarding Flowers’ recovery status on Tuesday.

“He’s not well enough to be out there,” Crennel said. “We need him out there.

“Like I said all along, he’s trying to get out there. We’re trying to do everything we can. The doctors have been looking at him to try to figure out how we can get him out there, but we haven’t been able to do it yet. We’ll keep working at him, and he’ll keep working to try to get it done before too long.”

Cassel on Stanzi’s Performance

Crennel is yet to declare a definitive No. 2 quarterback behind Matt Cassel, but the Chiefs starting quarterback gave his two cents regarding Ricky Stanzi’s outing Saturday night in St. Louis.

Stanzi completed three of his four pass attempts, but was picked off once and lost a fumble while taking a sack. He was sacked a total of four times and the Chiefs netted just 14 yards during his four offensive possessions.

Cassel took the first five offensive drives against the Rams and Brady Quinn replaced Stanzi in the fourth quarter to command the Chiefs final two possessions.

“When you go and watch the film it’s not always as bad as it seems,” Cassel said. “I thought Ricky went out there and he competed. Sometimes as a quarterback things don’t go as planned, but the thing I like about Ricky is that he always bounces back. Even after the interception, or if something bad happens, he comes back and says, ‘okay, what’s next.’

“You’ve got to have that kind of demeanor and I love that about Ricky. He’s ready to come back and ready to get back to work this week. He’s not hanging his head or anything like that and that’s part of playing the quarterback position. You have to take the good with the bad.”

Quarterback Stats Through Two Preseason Games

Passing

Att

Cmp

Yds

Cmp%

Yds/Att

TD

TD%

INT

INT%

Long

Sack/Lost

Rating

Cassel

24

18

209

75.0

8.7

1

4.2

0

0

29

1/12

114.8

Quinn

19

12

151

63.2

7.9

1

5.3

1

5.3

38t

0/0

83.4

Stanzi

11

5

66

45.5

6

0

0

1

9.1

27

4/32

27.14

Team

54

35

426

64.8

7.9

2

3.7

2

3.7

38t

5/44

85.9

Opponents

57

36

414

63.5

7.3

3

5.3

1

1.8

35

9/58

95.2